June 24, 2010

And life began to change...

Many times throughout my career I have been asked how I got into the helping field. Today someone asked again. I think my answer has been similar throughout the years but to be honest, I don't really always know. I am here because I am supposed to be. That is the only answer that feels right.

When I was 19 years old and still searching for my place in the world I was in treatment for 41 days. How I ended up there is a long story. But, the bottom line is that people were running out of answers for how to deal with me. And had I ever had any answers of my own for how to deal with myself, I did not have access to them. At that time I was flunking out of community college as a theatre major....and you needn't tell me how difficult of a task it is to flunk theatre....I pulled it off! After completing the treatment program it was suggested by one of the counselors that I might enjoy going to college to become a counselor. Why not? So, I went. And life began to change.

I was better when I packed my stuff and went out of town for college than I was before treatment, but I wasn't good. I wasn't even mediocre. I was still unhealthy. I will still struggling. I still had very few answers. But, I went to college. And I did well. I had the best GPA I had ever had in my life. And if you knew me in high school or in theatre, that isn't saying much. I graduated from that program in 1991 and moved to a four year university. A bad relationship and few answers, in tow. And life began to change.

In some insane moment of clarity, with the help of my family, I left the bad relationship one horrid night. And life began to change.

Six months after leaving with all my worldly possessions in a u-haul I applied for a job in a treatment center and was hired. I would love to say that my personal growth had developed so quickly that I exuded role model; however, that would be a lie. I was still unhealthy, still involved in drunkenness and still searching for myself. And life began to change.

Six months after beginning work as a counselor I stopped drinking completely. I realize that not drinking was paramount in my change but I also know that the journey began long before that day.....each event, each change, each action, each reaction, each decision....life changed.

And one day I woke up with a long-term career, the mother of a wonderful son, an education, and a full, rich, soul searching heart of wisdom. Because life began to change....and I embraced it.

Each day is an opportunity of growth for me. Each situation is an opportunity for me to learn more about my purpose. And I suppose I could look back to the second grade when I first announced I wanted to be a psychiatrist. Or I could remember how profound an impact that particular counselor had on me in high school. Maybe it was some special movie I saw when I was growing up. The honest answer is simple: I do this because I am supposed to.

What are you supposed to be doing?

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